Middle School United: Parent Survey Results

Dear Middle School Parents-

Thank you for your recent participation in our Spring Conferences back on March 26 and 27.  We called the event “Middle School United” this year to indicate some big changes we made.   This is the second year we have used the Student-Led Conference format for Spring Conferences, and once again, the response from students, teachers, and parents has been positive overall.

Big changes this year: 

  • Move to a new venue in the Gym and Upper Gallery. 
  • Drop in chats with all teachers given as an option for parents. 
  • Offer a menu of Learning Opportunities for parents.  

Perhaps the biggest change was the addition of Learning Opportunity sessions.  We had over 220 participants in all of the Learning Opportunities combined.  We were quite pleased with this.  Getting that many people to better understand what goes on here at ISB can really help us create stronger partnerships and unite as a community.  I’m very grateful to all of the presenters and organizers, as well as the parents and students who attended these sessions.

Key feedback from parents:

  • 200+ returned a parent survey and the following data is from those surveys.
  • 75% of parents found the level of conversation at Student-Led Conferences “More Informative” than the conversations at home about academics
  • 79% of parents felt their children were “Well Prepared” for the student-led conference
  • 74% of parents reported that they visited at least one teacher for a drop-in chat
  • 35% of parents reported that they attended a Learning Opportunity session
  • Sample comments from parents:
    • I hope that meeting time for each child could be extended. (Translated from Chinese.)
    • I hope that teachers discuss more about how does my child do in school during the conferences. It will allow us to learn more about our child’s learning attitude, academic stands, and whom he/she interacts with during the day. (Translated from Chinese.)
    • This new format is very convenient for us; it allows communication between the teacher and the parent to be more effective. I like it! (Translated from Chinese.)
    • I suggest that we have opportunities to reserve times to communicate with teachers.  (Translated from Chinese.)
    • Yes, learning opportunities are very helpful.  This new conferences way is very impressive and informative.
    • A better portfolio of work would be better to review.
    • This was a very good format and easy to get to see the main teachers which is very important!  So very pleased with this new layout.
    • I thought it was really good.  Totally enjoyed listening to my daughter talk about her school year thus far.  It felt very natural and “unscripted” and was just a great way to spend an hour and celebrate all the things she has worked on /through this year.  Thanks!
    • I would like to spend time one-on-one with teachers, without my child.
    • More private locations for SLC.  Broader criterias for evidence so things like artwork can be assessed.
    • As an ISB parent, I strongly believe this format of SLC is very helpful to understand my daughter’s learning.
    • Well organized!  Impressive!

Of course it was not possible to include all comments from parents, but we will be considering everyone’s comments as we work to improve our conferences next year.  We recognize that there is a large variation in opinion on our spring conference format and there’s no way to accommodate everyone’s wishes, but we will do our best to improve opportunities for bringing students, parents, and teachers together for meaningful conversations about learning.

Next year we will continue to follow the same general pattern with “Parent-Teacher Conferences” in October and “Student-Led Conferences” in March.  We will look for ways to make both of these conference experiences more meaningful and informational for parents.

Here are a few suggestions for parents, following our conferences.

  • If you feel you want a longer conversation with a teacher, it is ALWAYS your privilege to request an appointment.  Please contact your child’s teachers to make an appointment or request additional information at any time during the school year.
  • Now that you know your child has so much to say about their learning at ISB, keep the conversation going at home!  Many of our students reported how much they enjoyed having their parents’ undivided attention for an extended time.  
  • Look for future opportunities to learn more about our programs here at ISB.  Come to the MS Parent Coffee on April 25 at 8:30am in the MPR.  Watch for special parent-focused presentations throughout the year.  Plan to come to Back To School Night in September.  Make an appointment with an administrator or teacher to ask any questions you may have.  We are eager to talk to you!

Thank you again for entrusting us with the education of your children!


Dr. Jon Hill
ISB Middle School Principal



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